Unemployment Insurance Information Technology: States Face Challenges in Modernization Efforts Page: 4 of 12
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States' Use of IT to
Administer UI Programs
The federal-state UI program, created in part by the Social Security Act of
1935, is administered under state law based on federal requirements.3
The primary objectives of the program are to provide temporary, partial
compensation for lost earnings of eligible individuals who become
unemployed through no fault of their own and to stabilize the economy
during downturns. Applicants for UI benefits must have earned at least a
certain amount in wages and/or have worked a certain number of weeks
to be eligible. In addition, these individuals must, with limited exceptions,
be available for and able to work, and actively search for work.
The federal-state structure of the program places primary responsibility
for its administration on the states, and gives them wide latitude to
administer the programs in a manner that best suits their needs within the
guidelines established by federal law. Within the context of the federal-
state partnership, Labor has general responsibility for overseeing the UI
program to ensure that the program is operating effectively and efficiently.
For example, Labor is responsible for monitoring state operations and
procedures, providing technical assistance and training, and analyzing UI
program data to diagnose potential problems.
State agencies rely extensively on IT systems to carry out their UI
program functions. These include systems for administering benefits and
for collecting and administering the taxes used to fund the programs.
Benefit systems are used for
* determining eligibility for benefits;
* recording claimant filing information, such as demographic
information, work history, and qualifying wage credits;
* determining updates as needed, such as changes in work-seeking
* calculating state-specific weekly and maximum benefit amounts.
Tax systems are used for
* online reporting and payment of employers' tax and wage reports;
3UI was initiated on a national basis as Titles III and IX of the Social Security Act of 1935.
Pub. L. No. 74-271, 49 Stat. 620, codified as amended at 42 U.S.C. ch. 7, subchs. III and
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United States. Government Accountability Office. Unemployment Insurance Information Technology: States Face Challenges in Modernization Efforts, text, September 11, 2013; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc299732/m1/4/: accessed December 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.